Freeware | 4 Best Ways to Backup Windows 11 (Files and OS)

You will learn 4 best ways to backup Windows 11 with the full guide below. And whether you encounter malware attacks, hardware failures, or other common problems, you can easily restore your system.


by Clytze Updated on December 30, 2022

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The necessity of backing up Windows 11

The data that has accumulated over time is very important to all of us. Backup is the most effective measure to protect data security. You want to create a complete image backup of your entire system, including data, applications, and operating system.

If you encounter unexpected events such as malware attacks, software/hardware failures, accidental deletion of files by man or natural disasters, etc. With this backup image, you will be able to recover your entire system without suffering any data loss.

So you are probably very eager to know what is the best way to backup Windows 11. This article presents you with four of the easiest and most effective methods, and you can try them all to see which one best meets your needs. Here we go.

Best Way to Backup Windows 11

Does Windows 11 have a backup program?

If you are wondering “Does Windows 11 have a backup program?” well, the answer is definitely yes. In Windows 11, there are two embedded backup tools named Backup and Restore, File History. With their assistance, you can simply backup your computer. In addition, you can backup Windows 11 to OneDrive cloud storage. Moving on to see the specific steps.

Solution 1: Backup system via Windows 11 Backup and Restore

In our normal computer use, we store the operating system in advance, which is simply called system backup. The purpose of this is to restore the system to its previous state if there is a problem with it. How to do system backup with Backup and Restore? Here I will show you the step-by-step tutorial.

1. First, press Windows + R key to open Run dialog box, then type “sdclt” command and press Enter.

2. On the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) window, click on Set up backup option.

Set up Backup

3. Select the location where you want to save the backup. It is recommended that you save the backup on an external hard drive, or of course, you can directly select the system-recommended disk location. Click Next.

Select Backup Destination

4. In the What do you want to back up window, select the Let Windows choose (recommended) option or Let me choose, click Next.

Let Me Choose

5. Confirm your options and click the Save settings and run backup button.

Run Backup

Tip: Keep in mind that the Windows 11 default backup time is Sunday 7 PM. Although, you can change that by clicking the Change schedule option before step 5.

Solution 2: Backup files in Windows 11 with OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage and when you sign up it gives you 5GB of free space. You can backup your important files (your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders) on your Windows PC with OneDrive PC folder backup, so they’re protected and available on other devices. Follow the steps below to back up your crucial data to OneDrive.

1. Press Windows + I to open Settings, select System followed by Storage, then click on Backup options.

Backup Options

2. Select Backup files to OneDrive at the first option from the list. If you haven’t logged in, you’ll be asked to Set up OneDrive, just follow the instructions to complete the setup.

Backup to OneDrive

3. Once you logged in, you can click Open my OneDrive folder to select which files to back up, and click the Start backup button.

Open OneDrive Folder

By selecting this option, you can get the most efficient backup of your Windows 11. The only potential drawback is the limited space. OneDrive will show you exactly how much storage space is left before you start a file backup so that you can buy more space to store large amounts of data ahead of time. That could be expensive and there is a limitation on how much you can purchase. If you have concerns, you can consider other options.

Solution 3: Windows 11 file backup using File History

There is a built-in tool named File History embedded in both Windows 10 and Windows 11, which allows you to save all your files to an external hard drive. It works by automatically backing up every folder location you’ve selected regularly. You can change how often your files are saved and the number of saved versions you want to keep. Please note that File History will only back up files and folders located inside C:\Users\. The backup process is straightforward and requires you only a few steps.

1. Attach an external hard drive with enough storage, go to Settings, click System followed by Storage, and select Advanced storage settingsBackup Options.

2. Click the Add a drive button under the Back up using File History option.

File History

3. Select your external drive from the drop-down menu, and ensure the Automatically back up my files toggle button is On. Then click Back up now to operate your backup.

Note: You can configure your backup preferences by selecting More options under the Automatically back up my files button.

Backup Now

Easiest way to set up automatic backup in Windows 11

You need to be aware that backing up to an external hard drive may be a good option for storing backup files, but in the event of a hard drive failure or loss, your important files become unsafe as well. And you need to be alert to malware attacks, hardware failures, upgrade-related issues, and other common problems that can impact your backed up files or system.

If you still seek for the best way to backup your important files as well as your operating system, you can try the best free backup software– AOMEI Backupper Standard. This software has a simple operation interface that makes it easy to backup your files or your entire system in just a few simple steps. Learn more about its features:

✫ It offers 4 backup types which are System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, and Files/Folders Backup.
✫ It supports backing up to various locations, such as backing up Windows 11 to Synology NAS, local disks, external hard drives, network share, USB devices, cloud drives, etc.
✫ This feature allows you to automate your backup tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.
✫ The free version only supports Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

The step-by-step tutorial on how to backup Windows 11 OS with best free Windows 11 backup software will be listed below:

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard and launch this software. Click BackupSystem Backup.

Download FreewareWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

System Backup

Step 2. The program automatically chooses the system-related partition(s) as the source data. You just need to select a destination path. You can select a USB as the location to solve how to backup Windows 11 to USB.

Select Destination Path

Step 3. Click Start Backup to backup your Windows 11.

Start System Backup

Options: You can write comments for your task and set an email notification.
Schedule Backup: It allows you to automatically backup your files at a fixed frequency such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly.
Backup Scheme: It allows you to do Incremental and Differential backup. Both of them can improve your backup efficiency, but incremental backup is more demanding to restore and it is recommended that you choose differential backup. Also, it can help remove old backup images automatically to free up storage space. (available in the Professional edition)

How to restore the system image backup once needed:

Click Restore > Select Task or Select Image File. Then, follow the wizard to complete the system recovery process.

Select Task


That’s the complete process of the best way to backup Windows 11. You have four options to make a backup of your files or OS: OneDrive, Backup and Restore, File History, and the professional best free backup tool – AOMEI Backupper. These methods have minimal steps that are easier to understand and implement. But from the bottom of my heart, I strongly recommend you to try AOMEI Backupper, for its integrated and perfect features will save you a lot of trouble.

With its contribution, you can not only backup your Windows 11, but also you can sync your files. Or if you are in need of wiping an external hard drive, it can be your best Disk Wipe assistant. You'll only know how good it is if you try it, so try it now!

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.